Digital Branding

How to Recognize The Top Digital Marketing Agency for Your Brand

Raising brand awareness is one of the primary goals of digital marketing. However, not every company has the time and resources to do all the necessary work that goes into promoting a brand. One way to address this issue is to outsource branding to a third-party, such as a digital marketing agency.

Choosing the right agency for your businesses is not an easy task. If you hire the wrong people, chances are high that you won’t be getting the ROI you wanted. To prevent this from happening, you need to take steps to ensure that a given agency is the right fit for your branding needs.

To help you in this task, we have compiled a list of points you ought to consider while looking for an option that works for you.

Specify Your Branding Needs

Before reaching out to a digital marketing agency, you first need to be clear on what you want to accomplish in doing so. Branding is an undertaking that involves a whole scope of different processes, decisions, and objectives, some of which might be more important to your company than others.

The first thing you need to take into account is your budget. In general, the more you spend on branding, the better the results will be. Just bear in mind that digital marketing is a scalable affair, so you can get a good ROI even for smaller budgets.

Next, you need to choose which digital marketing services you need. Digital marketing agencies usually offer some or all of the following:

  • website design and development
  • content creation
  • search engine optimization
  • social media marketing
  • marketing analytics

Finally, you should be clear on the specific goals that you wish to accomplish. Think in terms of metrics – “raising brand awareness” is a goal that is difficult to measure, whereas “increase traffic by 25% in 3 months” is something you can work with.

Conduct Market Research

Once you have settled on the kind of service you need, it is time to begin browsing online for an agency that fulfills your requirements. Google is a good place to start with your search – just type in the relevant search terms and check the resulting websites.

The about page of a website should be the first place you visit. It should give you some clue as to what you can expect from working with the company in question. Be on the lookout for information regarding their staff, certifications, and technologies they use.

Examine their services next, paying special attention to the pricing model they use. Some companies charge per hour, whereas others set a price for the entire project. If no pricing information is available, you probably move on to your next candidate.

Pay attention to the website itself. A digital marketing agency with a poorly-designed website has no business doing branding work for other people. Be aware that the opposite is not necessarily true – a good-looking site is no guarantee that the services being offered are on par.

Check Your Client’s Reputation

After taking a good look at how a company presents itself, you should see what others have to say as well. Reliable digital marketing agencies won’t hesitate to display customer reviews, testimonials and comments on their own site, but you should broaden the scope of your search just in case.

Do some scouting on social media first. Be on the lookout for influencers that create branding-related content. These individuals will clue you in on who the major players are in the business, in addition to providing valuable advice free of charge.

Next, try getting in touch with your businesses associates, and ask them who they would recommend. If they happen to be clients of the company you are considering to hire, ask them how they feel about the results they got.

It would also be a good idea to ask for a portfolio of some of the branding work the company has done. You can then come to your own conclusion whether what’s on display is worth paying for. If a company refuses to provide a portfolio, that is usually a sign that you should take your business elsewhere.

Watch for Red Flags During Communication

Once you feel you have done enough research, proceed to contact your digital marketing agency of choice. The resulting exchange should tell you all you need to know in order to determine whether this is a company you should do business with. Pay attention to the following red flags while you communicate, as they are clear indicators that something might go wrong down the line.

If they promise to email you supplementary material but fail to do so, this means they are not taking you seriously as a client.

If they use vague or generic answer when responding to your questions, this means that they are not technically proficient to do the work they promised.

If they take too long to respond to your emails, this means that they don’t see you as a priority client, and will not give you the attention you need.

Conclusion

We hope that this guide has shed some light on what is at stake when choosing a digital marketing agency for your branding needs. There are many aspects you need to consider before reaching a final decision, but with enough research and a vigilant attitude, you are certain to find a company that will provide exactly what you are looking for.

Legal Branding

5 Ways Product Labels Can Help Your Branding

Labelling is an essential part of your business process. In fact, it is a part of your product and brand. Labelling pronounces a host of conveniences during a number of core business activities such as logistics, warehousing, and showroom displaying. Not only the efforts of your staff reduce, but also the cost and time involved in the management and sorting the products repress considerably with right labelling practices.

Did you know, that more than 60% of consumers make buying decision-based on the packaging and labelling of a product?

Did you also know that 65% of products go unseen in supermarkets owing to the chaos in shelves and sections?

These facts make enough sense why a business should be focusing on adding more elements to the visual appeal of their product, packaging and labels. How to build his brand’s recognition in the market is one of the first strategies a forward-looking entrepreneur develops. When it comes to branding, quality is not the only factor that a business should be looking at. Quality without a doubt should be the focal point of any success-hungry brand. It is something that you never have to compromise on. It helps you retain your customers.

But, your packaging and labelling are two key add-ons that support your brand building efforts among your audience. If your product looks good and your label shows useful and valuable information, the customer will most likely see it, pick it, read it, and might give it a try.

Spread the word

The consumer base of an infant brand solidifies swiftly with word-of-mouth marketing done by its first-time consumers. The WOM marketing is effectively free of cost and a brand does not have to invest a single penny on this. However, there certainly are some investments required to add quality to your product and some appeal to your labelling.

Quality in your product will give you returning customers. They will then spread the word about your quality and suggest their loved ones to use your product. Here comes the application of your product packaging and labelling. Your logo or your unique label will help the ones convinced through word of the mouth find or demand your product.

Almost all brands, whether emerging or established, invest in quality and look of their product, just to ascertain that their products catch the attention of consumers at the very first glance. It is, in reality, one of their core strategies.

Increase on-shelf visibility

Not seen not bought. To be seen in the market, your product needs to look good and most importantly, “unique”.

There is a direct connection between your sales and visibility! The more you are seen, the more you are sold. There is no denying that shelf placement also plays a crucial role in your sales.

For a newly-established business, gaining visibility in the market which already is packed with countless similar brands, is among the top challenges. However, if you have got your labels designed and printed by a professional service for custom labels, things will be easier for you.

For better visibility, it is imperative that you design your product’s appeal rigorously; get the first draft printed and quality checked; and then, the final draft printed and distributed.

Display brand information

How would a customer know it is your product if there will be no information about you on your product’s label? Almost every brand makes an effective use of labelling for this very purpose.

You are trying to establish yourself in the market. The best way is to advertise on different media. Another great way is to do it through your uniquely designed labels. You can write about the brand message, in addition to your promise regarding the quality of your product, your post-sale service, or anything persuasive.

The logo also gets a place on your label, and that is how your product gets your identity. It would now become easier for your customers to find and recognize your products.

Promote your offers

What else you can do through labels is to let your audience know about your ongoing promotional offers. This is a very common practice in stores, where each shelf or section has its own label displaying the very offer applicable for that particular shelf or section.

You can get custom labels designed and printed in bulk for each of your upcoming discount-offering deals. And as per the strategically chosen time, paste or distribute those labels in the store to avoid delays.

Promoting your seasonal offers is a great way to promote your brand. Giving your customers freebies such as coffee mugs with a custom printed message along with your logo or brand name can help you establish your brand.

Product Information

So, we have talked about how labelling speeds up the effectiveness of your promotional offers, promotional messages, brand information, on-shelf visibility and consumer base. But, here is something unavoidable.

In many states and countries, the law abides businesses to give all relevant and necessary information about the product on its label. Pertinent inputs including ingredients, how to and how not to use the product, conditions, and other ins and outs about the product should get a mention of the packaging label.

Additionally, the date of manufacturing, the date of expiry, production batch number, weight, and rate should be there on the label. All such pieces of information can be codified into a barcode pattern, which has become a trend these days; plus it brings your customers to your website.

So, never ever miss giving product information on your packaging. Without that, your product might be rejected authoritatively.

Here is an informative piece that explains the step-by-step process of creating product labels.

Bottom Line

There you go. Labelling delivers noteworthy benefits. It helps you establish your brand in multiple ways. Effectively-designed and timely-distributed labels allow you to gain momentum in the market influenced by brands of the same nature. However, what is essential is putting the right label on the right product (at the right time, if it is a part of your seasonal promotional event).

Not just your products, but also your labels and packaging – everything needs to be tested for quality stepwise. It is vital because you would never want your labels to have misleading or textually or grammatically incorrect information. One single misrepresentation can put a mark on your brand image. If you are making efforts to establish your brand, then such blunders can toughen your way significantly.

Legal Branding

Data Breaches are Soaring

2017 was a high-profile year for cyber attacks. Hundreds of millions of Americans were exposed to massive breaches at Equifax, Yahoo, and others. But while a few instances may have dominated headlines, the story of 2017 was how data breaches soared overall.

Data released by the non-profit Theft Resource Center brings the issue into stark relief. In 2017 there were 1,300 significant breaches at US organizations including businesses and government agencies. In 2005 there were less than 200 comparable instances.

The researchers are careful to point out that the numbers may not be as stark as they seem. Companies are now required or compelled to report breaches, which would inflate numbers over a decade ago. Unfortunately, there is plenty of other evidence to suggest that data breaches are becoming more common and more frequent.

The New Definition of Massive

We are used to hearing about data breaches that affect millions of consumers and involve huge amounts of stolen data. But since these massive attacks are so common, it’s hard to notice that they’re growing as well.

The cybersecurity firm Gemalto estimates that 2.6 billion records were stolen over the course of 2017, which is an 88 percent increase over the previous year. That means hackers have multiple personal records on most people in the country.

The Gemalto data also highlights that theft isn’t the only troubling issue. The firm estimates that 1.9 billion records were lost accidentally. This could be due to improper disposal, misconfigured databases, or basic human error. Regardless, the total is 580 percent higher than the previous year. Hackers are troubling, but even simple mistakes can have huge consequences.

The New Definition of Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity was already an urgent issue headed into 2017. It’s not like companies were caught off-guard by the problem and suffered larger breaches as a result. The troubling fact is that companies invested a ton of time, energy, and money in cybersecurity. Yet breaches still skyrocketed.

That is leading many to rethink the shortsighted nature of cybersecurity. Historically it has focused on prevention and deflection, basically keeping threats out of networks. But after years of failed efforts, companies are considering the other half of the equation. Understanding that incidents are inevitable, responding to problems and mitigating damage are new priorities.

That is leading companies to create detailed response plans, organize emergency IT teams, and practice crisis PR. They are also taking out cyber policy insurance in order to insulate themselves from fines, penalties, and lawsuits. Companies increasingly understand that even if they can’t avoid cyber incidents, they can avoid the worst of the damage.

By the end of 2018, we will likely have recorded some new lows in cybersecurity. Hacking is a lucrative enterprise, which is why cyber criminals are more motivated than ever. Unfortunately, there is no reason to expect data breaches to decline next year or anytime in the near future.

Investing more in protection is the only practical and prudent way to respond. The key thing is not to invest short-shortsightedly. Protecting against threats is important, but so is recovering from them on sound and stable footing.

Legal Branding

How to Prevent Your Car from Being Stolen

If you’re a new car owner, you’ve probably considered how unlucky it would be to see it stolen. Although anti-theft technologies should be keeping criminals at bay, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) claims they’re just leading criminals to become more clever.

According to their research, car theft has risen substantially over recent years. That’s why you should take all measures to protect your car. Not only will it protect your vehicle, but it might even get you a discount on your premiums. If you take preventative measures, you’re more likely to keep your car safe; while simultaneously saving money in the long run.

Here are ways you can both prevent your car from being stolen and save money.

Common Sense

There are plenty of ways to prevent theft. The first and best thing to do in order to keep your car from being stolen is to use common sense. Lock car doors, roll up windows and park in well-lit areas. Generally, don’t park in areas where cars are more likely to be stolen. The busier the area, the less likely a thief will attempt stealing your car. They tend not to like witnesses.

Technologies

Another suggestion is to purchase antitheft technologies. Although the NICB claims criminals are getting smarter, you definitely shouldn’t skimp out on things like GPS tracking, alarms or steering-wheel and tire locks. It might be a good idea to invest in vehicle identification number etching.

All of these provide a strong layer of defense and immobilize devices while simultaneously utilize tracking systems. You’re more likely to combat theft and ensure your vehicle recovery. Most alarms cost a few hundred dollars, while tire locks cost even less.

Employing anti-theft devices like these will typically get you a discount of about five percent off your comprehensive car insurance premium. In the event that your car is stolen, some insurers may still offer a reduced deductible on the claim if there was an anti-theft device installed.

Use Your Garage

This one’s easy. So many people have houses. So many of these homes have garages. Yet, we tend to use them to store our junk. A good piece of advice is to clean out the garage and use it for your vehicle instead of parking the car in the driveway.

Insurance

If all else fails and you do get your car stolen, it’s important to have the best insurance out there. You can compare car insurance rates that fit both your budget and needs, one of them getting help if and when your car gets stolen. No one wants to be stuck in a situation where their vehicle is stolen and they’re left empty-handed.

As previously mentioned, one of the benefits of taking safety precautions with your car is that your insurance might offer you a discount on your premium. If we’re being honest, the key to paying less on your car insurance is minimizing possible risks to the vehicle and to yourself. You can do this with anti-theft devices and winter tires.

Drive with Confidence

If you follow these steps, you’re sure to keep your car safe and sound throughout the year. Remember to always use common sense, utilize the garage, and go the extra mile with anti-theft devices to ensure safety and save some money in the process. Drive with confidence!

SaaS Branding

5 SaaS Product Trial Strategies to Put in Place

Guest author: Molly Gibson Kirby

You know your SaaS company has a really good free trial, but are enough people converting to paying customers after the trial?

Probably not.

Typical trial conversion rates from a visitor to a customer in SaaS are 2%. This means if you have 10,000 web visitors, 200 will become free trial users and 30 of those users will become paying customers. Increasing these numbers are one of the biggest pain points for SaaS marketing departments.

In order to get your trial users to become paying customers, you need to make your free demo something these prospects can’t live without.

If you want to better your SaaS free trial, you need to change your strategy. It is possible to upgrade your conversion rate from 2% and that’s where this article comes into play.

In this article, we’re sharing 5 effective SaaS product trial strategies you can start using today to acquire more paying customers.

Two Types of SaaS Trials

For the majority of software products, the question isn’t – should I have a free trial? The question is – what sort of free trial should I have?

When creating a SaaS product trial, it’s important to note which type of trial your company is offering. Below are the two different types to decide between.

Opt-out Free

Opt-out trials are the free trials that require a credit card to begin. The free trial will turn over into a subscription at the end of the trial if the prospect does not opt-out.  If a free trial requires a credit card, the average visitor to retained customer conversion rate is around 0.6%.

This type of trial needs to have hard work behind it in order to get people to give out their credit card information before the trial even begins.

Opt-in Free

The Opt-in trials are the free trials that can be started without a credit card. Prospects will need to opt-in to a subscription by providing payment details during or after the trial is finished.

According to Totango, if a credit card is not required, the visitor to retained customer conversion rate increases to approximately 1.2%.

This type of trial needs to have hard work behind it to get people to become customers once the trial is up.

Now that you understand the types of free SaaS product trials, let’s get started on the strategies we know that help boost product trial ROI.

Make Sign Up Simple

The fewer barriers that you put in the way, the more likely it is that people will sign up and opt-in for your SaaS trial.

Consider what information your SaaS company needs for the free trial. This goes back to the two types of trial sign-ups. Are you going to do an opt-in or an opt-out free demo? This will determine if credit card information is needed in the form.

Keep the signup short, don’t ask for a separate username, simply use their email as a username.

Also, consider using social logins for account creation. This has become a popular feature for many SaaS companies and makes it easier for people to get started on their free trial without wasting time inputting all their information.

Create Engaging Content

In addition to having a free trial, creating content that relates to the SaaS demo is pivotal.

Users may have questions or concerns about the trial. Having the content that answers these questions will allow them to feel like your SaaS company is credible and authoritative. Start by creating a landing page for your free trial. Include an FAQ section on this page and a how-to guide on using the software, so people see it right when they sign up. Then make sure you have content regarding the free trial and how it can solve a customer’s problem on your blog.

Once you have these key pieces of content, get creative and begin to think of other ways to add valuable and educational content where it fits.

Show Your Value

However good your SaaS product is, the simple truth is that no-one will buy it if they don’t believe they need it. You need to show people what your product can do for them.

Articulate your value proposition on your website, landing page, content and in all marketing campaigns. Once you do that, any visitor should be able to tell what you offer, who needs it, what they will gain having it and finally, why they should choose your company.

Take Salesforce for example.

On their 30-day free trial landing page, they provide everything we just mentioned above.

Value Proposition: Sell Faster. Sell Smarter. Sell the way you want.

What’s offered: Sales Cloud

Who needs it: Canadian companies with a focus on sales managers

What they gain: lead management, opportunity management, sales forecasting and a mobile sales office.

Why choose Salesforce: Trusted by thousands of Canadian customers.

Salesforce does an incredible job at showing their value without sounding too preachy. When creating your SaaS free trial landing page, be sure to include these five sections we just mentioned.

Fix Your CTA

The effectiveness of your Call to Action (CTA) can make or break your marketing. It is the one piece that actually gets your visitors to take action – hence the name. A CTA should make visitors want your product, it should create an urgency for signing up and it should be an easy-to-use form!

Make your CTA visible on the homepage. This allows new visitors to see the CTA, hook them into thinking they need to try the free trial and have them easily sign up right then and there.

Exit Survey

On the same note as engagement, it’s imperative that you conduct an exit survey once someone is finished their free SaaS trial. If a user doesn’t move to a paid plan, it’s valuable to know why. After a week of not upgrading, an email should be sent out to ask why they cancelled.

Sometimes they leave because it wasn’t what they were looking for, but sometimes they’re not fans of a specific part of the trial/software. The latter reason usually can be fixed with needed changes or upgrades to the software.

As you may have noticed, user feedback is key when bettering your SaaS trial.

In the End

In the end, if you apply these strategies and tips, your SaaS trial should perform better. It’s possible for the conversion rate from a trial user to a paying customer to increase from 2%. It will just take time, commitment, user feedback and a handful of a/b tests.

Are you ready to better your SaaS product Trial ROI?

 

Author’s Bio 

Molly Gibson Kirby is a writer and marketing strategist at Roketto, an inbound marketing agency in British Columbia. She dives deep into the world of inbound marketing on a daily basis and writes about this fundamental shift in business on Roketto’s blog. When not writing, she’s either on her yoga mat or getting lost in a new book.

Digital Branding

Why Should You Set Up Live Video Streaming Website on Your Own

Live Streaming Industry

The market is propitious for live video streaming industry. In 2016, its size was $31 billion and marketers spent an estimated $5.6 billion on video content creation and curation. By 20201, it’s projected to more than double in size and become $71 billion industry. Live streaming takes user engagement to the best level. It builds trust and transparency by establishing a relationship between audiences and brands.

Drawbacks of Popular Live Steaming Platforms

Drawback #1: Little Control over Design

The dominance of YouTube Live cannot be quantified. Truth be told, its popularity is overwhelming! Facebook Live, Twitter’s Periscope, YouTube Live and other prominent live video streaming platforms are great. But they have their own limitations. For instance, users have little control over the site design. And yes, they are helpless when it comes to defining aesthetics and controls of the video player.

Drawback #2: Acquisition of Indirect Traffic at the Cost of Direct Traffic

If you are keen on multiplying your sales, you should focus on acquiring traffic. Traffic is of two types – Direct and indirect. Many online marketers believe that direct traffic yields more dividends than indirect traffic. Of course, social traffic is important but it should not be at the cost of direct traffic. As far as indirect traffic is concerned, Facebook Live, Periscope and YouTube Live are extremely resourceful. If you set up a live video streaming website, internet traffic can be conveniently directed to your website.

Drawback #3: Too Many Distractions

Distractions are too many on YouTube Live and Facebook Live. This can be attributed to too many advertisements. Users may skip a few advertisements though. But is it ideal to make prospects wait for the content? No!

Drawback #4: Glitchy Broadcasts

Let’s not discount another major factor – Your live streaming videos on YouTube, Facebook and Periscope can be banned, flagged as fraudulent and reported for fictitious reasons. There are quite a few other drawbacks as well – Periscope is notorious for its glitchy broadcasts. It isn’t smooth and live video keeps buffering and pausing. As a matter of fact, users will not be receptive to such uncomfortable live broadcasts.

Drawback #5: Absence of DRM and Other Must-have Features 

Facebook Live doesn’t have any impressive features either. Can you do multiple live streams on Facebook? No! Monetization features aren’t noteworthy. As far as the concept of DRM (Digital Rights Management) is concerned, Facebook does a shoddy job. And hey, the maximum supported resolution on Facebook Live is just 720p. The maximum supported video duration is just 90 minutes.

In essence, Facebook Live, YouTube Live and Twitter’s Periscope aren’t the magical answers to live streaming.

So, what’s the magical answer? Live streaming software!

How to make a live streaming website?

To begin with, identify and understand your requirements.

Here is a checklist of performance requirements:

  • Reliable storage
  • Functionality
  • Responsive design
  • Access
  • Video Archives`
  • Security
  • Robust network connectivity
  • Bandwidth

Reliable Storage

What does reliable storage mean to your viewers?

Reliable storage is to ensure all-time availability of your videos to your viewers.

What does it mean to you? It’s about hosting your video files in a place which guarantees maximum uptime. You can use an SSD (Solid State Drive) storage. But if you are looking for a cost-effective solution, you should bet your chances on a cloud hosting solution.

Functionality

There are many features that come under the ambit of site functionality. For instance, your site should let audiences comment and chat. For better and higher conversion rates, there should be a push notification feature. Multiple monetization options are always desirable. It’s important to collect payments and hence, payment gateways such as PayPal, Stripe should be used.

Responsive Design

Responsive site design is all about crafting great optimal viewing experiences on a variety of devices. Site navigation should be seamless. Operations such as scrolling and re-sizing shouldn’t be cumbersome. Incorporate a search functionality.

Access

Coming to access, there are three levels of privileges.

Level #1: Only you can create and upload live videos to your site.

Level #2: All registered users can create and upload live videos to your site.

Level #3: Only paid subscribers can create and upload live videos.

Live streaming software should help you keep unsubscribed users from accessing your video website

Video Archives

More often than not, online marketers pay scant attention to storing video archives. The key is to have a flexible and dynamic file storage system. In other words, the file hosting and storage solution should help you handle spikes in traffic, ramp up video scalability and scale down costs.

Security

When it comes to the most commonly pirated and stolen digital assets, video ranks second to none. Live streaming software should help you secure your video assets through DRM support. AES level encryption technology is the need of the hour. It can prevent unauthorized downloads to a very large extent. To be upfront, no platform is 100% immune to piracy. You should definitely watermark your videos.

For all intents and purposes, purchase that live streaming software which locks content to your chosen domains. Token security is another desirable trait. Tokens prevent content redirection to unauthorized third party sources.

There is no denying that online marketers have to adhere to licensing agreements. As part of licensing agreements, you may have to exclude/block a few regions. There should be enough provisions in the live streaming software that let you block users and traffic from certain regions.

Bandwidth

How much bandwidth does a live video streaming website require? Let’s do the math. Let’s say you have 2500 users. Let’s say you live broadcast videos in 720p. Going by the industry standards, every user requires at-least 4Mbps to watch a 720p video. As you have 2500 users, your website requires 10 Gbps. 1080p videos require a lot more bandwidth. Now that 4K resolution videos are all the rage, Hulu recommends at-least 13Gbps. Amazon recommends 15 Gbps while Netflix recommends 25 Gbps.

Robust Network Connectivity

Robust network connectivity is required to minimize jitters. Technically speaking, jitters are nothing but latency variations. Latency variations are responsible for lapses in video frames and images. Lack of synchrony between audio and video can be attributed to latency variations. To address these pain points, adaptive bitrate streaming should be used.

Now that you have a conclusive answer to how to set up a live streaming website, let’s now look at how live streaming works.

There are three stages:

Stage #1: Video Capturing

The first stage is capturing videos from equipment such as video cameras, mobile phones etc. The captured video is then fed to a device called encoder.

Stage #2: Video Encoding

Encoder does the job of chopping the captured video into small packets of information. It converts information in one form to another form to ensure standardization. Encoder plays a very key role in buffer free live streaming

Stage #3: Video Delivery

The final stage is live streaming the encoded content to users. HTML 5 players that are known for great responsiveness and clarity are used to deliver the content.

Found this post useful and informative? If you have any queries, shoot them in the comments. I shall reply in a day or two. Keep watching this space for insights on live streaming software. Cheers!

Digital Branding

Rebuilding Your Reputation After a PR Disaster

Nothing moves faster than gossip over the internet. If your reputation is maligned by an incident, you can bet your customers will find out about it in short order. When that happens, you must respond appropriately to lay their concerns to rest. However, once you’ve done so, you’ll still be faced with rebuilding your reputation after a PR disaster.

These five tips will help you accomplish that.

1. Apologize for Your Mistake

Regardless of whom you perceive to be at fault, your customers are going to lay the blame squarely at your feet. Ignoring this will only serve to make you look callous. Offering up a mea culpa as soon as all of the factors driving the misunderstanding are clear will gain you sympathy. Demonstrating both contrition and compassion are key to regaining the trust of your core constituency. You must also make sure the key elements of the apology are the same everywhere it appears. When people consistently hear the same message, they begin to believe it.

2. Maintain Transparency

Don’t try to sugarcoat the situation. Be completely upfront about the circumstances, the ramifications and your efforts to put things right. People will investigate the incident and if your version of the story is proven false in any way, your reputation will be even further diminished. You’ll be branded a liar and untrustworthy. That’s a very deep hole out of which to dig. As soon as people come to realize “there’s nothing else to see here” they will turn their attention elsewhere. But if you keep dumping fuel on the fire in the form of obfuscation, the story will dribble out bit by bit as the layers of the subterfuge are peeled away. This keeps it in in the public eye longer, which makes the damage more difficult to repair.

3. Demonstrate You’ve Fixed the Problem

If you sell cosmetics from home and inadvertently sold a batch of eyeshadow laced with Pinkeye causing bacteria, your customers are going to be justifiably reluctant to purchase from you again. However, if you take the time to clearly enumerate the steps you’ve taken to make sure it does not happen again, your reputation will be bolstered in the eyes (no pun intended) of your loyal shoppers. Even better, produce a video of yourself apologizing and using the product to demonstrate how confident you are in the efficacy of your solution. People know stuff happens. But when it happens again and again and again, it’s going to be hard to convince people to continue trusting you. Fix it fast, make sure it stays fixed and tell everyone how you fixed it.

4. Exceed Expectations

With the problem in your rearview mirror, you might be tempted to revert to the same old way of doing business. This is a mistake. People are still watching you, waiting for you to screw up again. This is why you need to make every effort to surpass the level of customer service, attention to detail and efficiencies you maintained before. In other words, with the stain on your character, you have to be better than you ever were in all regards. Doing this as you move on from the situation will bolster your reputation significantly—and win you new customers in the process.

5. Invite Scrutiny

It’s going to be happening anyway, so you might as well take control and embrace it. If you’re being flamed consistently by one particular news outlet or blogger, invite them to come see what you’re doing to correct the situation. Extend an open invitation to look over your shoulder and report on your efforts as you set about rebuilding your reputation after the PR disaster.

Local Branding

6 Sure-fire Security Practices to Avoid Theft and Minimize Employee Fraud

Imagine an intruder or a fraudulent employee walks through an open door and steals valuable properties such as fixtures, cash, and intellectual property of the business. Or vandalism on off-shift that shuts down the production line for days, costing a significant budget for the company.

These are some examples of weak security systems and procedures that should never happen to your business. In fact, a study shows that 33% of business bankruptcies are because of employee theft. When the businesses protocols are under control, the operation of the company will run smoothly, as well as keeping its people safe and comfortable.

But when the security system fails, it can leave the company a disastrous effect. To avoid this and other unfortunate events, consider the following steps to safeguard your business better.

Perform a Risk Assessment

Start by determining on what your company does and the things involved including your premises, employees, equipment, and many more. Then distinguish the key risks which can include both external dangers, and internal threats such as employee fraud or accidents caused by improper safety equipment and procedures.

Assess the possibility of each risk, and determine how severe the result would be. Further, prioritize to manage business risks that will be most likely to have a significant impact.

Set a Code of Conduct

A business owner should create a code of proper conduct. This document should define what acceptable or appropriate behavior within business premises is, and what consequences there will be if a staff violates the terms.

Though this text doesn’t need to describe all necessary actions, it’s best to plan for critical areas such as keeping sensitive information safe, protecting the property of the company. More so, you should communicate the code of conduct to your staff upon hiring, and they should sign that they will follow it.

Secure Your Business Premises

It seems like an obvious idea, but some business owners tend to forget about the importance of adequate physical security.

Thus, if need, strengthen or upgrade doors, install security lighting, and fit window locks. Each can prevent burglars since some robberies are unplanned. If the access points are exposed, consider installing a CCTV, but take note that data protection rules may apply.

Also, if you don’t have an alarm system installed, make sure you get a fitted one and hang some signs as a warning of its presence. In addition to that, consider installing either shutters or grilles, but you may need planning approval from your local committee.

Separate and Monitor Employee Duties

The tasks you should be concerned about the most are those of the employees who handle merchandise and do your bookkeeping. Hence, consider distributing the duties to your employees.

For instance, the staff who works on your bank reconciliation should not be the one who is going to pay the bills. Or, the employee who takes in stock for sale shouldn’t be the person who decides if a product should be scrapped or the one who inputs the purchase of a product.

Assign a Floor Marshall

In some cases, it’s almost impossible to recognize every new employee, vendor, or contractor, especially on large companies. Indeed, intruders may take this opportunity to attack.

With regards to that, if the visitor management policy is not existing within the business, it can be a way for them to gain access to an office, steal property or information, or may harm physically. To prevent that from happening, assigning a floor marshall is a straight and efficient way to help protect your premises against such intruders.

Regular Review and Revise

The truth is, it’s not enough to only put these procedures in place. You and your top officials must also take time to review and revise your security measures. Evaluate and make sure you address all the items on your checklist. Then, set some key steps to make sure that slippages are within a right range.

An example, study your rate of inventory turnover this year and compare it with the last few years of operation to whether fraud is involved.

Takeaway

It’s apparent that these security measures may be costly and time-consuming. But they consume far less expense and time than losing company assets caused by intruders, or employee theft.

Securing your business premises can probably the most effective way to protect your business’ property, and locksmithman.ca and other security services can help you with this process.

 

Local Branding

Recruitment Firm GoBuyside Gives Insight Into Challenges Facing Investment Management Firms

Investment management firms are striving to improve how they recruit specialized talent. Research has shown that many financial executives believe that the talent drought could seriously harm future growth. The scarcity of talent has allowed investment management leaders to stay ahead of the competition if they can land top talent. With that being said, here is a look at some challenges that firms face in regards to their investment management recruiting strategies.

Competition

The top talent identified by the investment management industry are constantly being recruited by companies from outside of the industry. If experts are in demand within a number of different industries, that will lead to a lot of competition for these special talents. Recruitment firms are under pressure to meet the needs of their clients. Many investment management companies use an accounting firm to help them with different projects. GoBuyside advises firms to identify experts who have a reputation for hiring top talent. Firms should choose a partner who can directly help them in their field. GoBuyside’s success is evident by the fact that they have more than 300 clients around the World.

Diversity

The importance of diversity in the workforce has been an employment issue for many years. Inclusiveness is a more recent issue that many businesses are struggling to adapt to. In today’s current climate, companies must emphasize diversity and inclusion. GoBuyside recommends that companies find partners that have shown that they can create policies that promote inclusion and diversity. GoBuyside promotes diversity by having a large talent database that features people from all around the World who come from different backgrounds.

Regulatory Climate

The investment management sector is different from others because of the regulation requirements. The regulatory climate is starting to shift in many countries around the World. The regulatory environment often hinders firms and their recruiting efforts. Firms should make sure that their partners have a vision that aligns with their clients. A generalized approach to the recruitment search will lead to firms choosing from a short list of candidates.

Evolving Skills

It is a yearly challenge for companies to adapt to the evolution taking place around them. As the technology continues to evolve, workers will change their skill sets to meet the needs of what is currently in demand. Because of the technology sector, analysts predict that the investment management industry will be threatened over the next decade. Companies are now trying to add flexible workers to their team. Many of today’s employees have a hybrid skill set. Recruiting partners should help companies brainstorm ideas of new training methods that will help workers gain the flexibility to meet any need.

 

Local BrandingSaaS Branding

Journalistic Ethics in Social Media

Modern realities and the development of technologies give impetus to the new challenges that confront the representatives of public professions. This is relevant for journalists and the ways of use of information. The journalist is responsible by his own name for the content of the materials under which his signature stands, and before issuing a new product, he should check the reliability and objectivity of information.

The journalist always works for the audience. He should be aware that in any, even informal, setting, the audience can associate him with the media in which he works. It can position his personal views as the editorial culture. Being active in social networks, a journalist should understand that the social utilities themselves are not a mass media tool, but he is also responsible for the information disseminated in them.

Social Networks Changes the Communication Model

The issue of reassessing and supplementing professional ethical standards of a journalist became relevant in the early 2000s in connection with the beginning of the development of public utilities on the Internet. Now, this issue is complicated with the widespread of research paper services as well. Ethical conflicts associated with the activities of journalists and ordinary users in public utilities began to appear in the global media sphere.

Photo credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/rosauraochoa/3256859352/

Public utilities are a great way to keep in touch with the audience with limited resources. They provide an opportunity to:

  • moderate comments and improve their quality;
  • instantly respond to changes in the behavior of the audience and adjust the activities of the media;
  • conduct surveys and competitions;
  • react quickly to news;
  • receive news from the audience and keep in touch with newsmakers; convert news feeds to a source of information (the social network functions as a news aggregator);
  • draw attention to the main site of the publication (analysis of the number of transitions from the publication page to the mainstream Internet media);
  • develop a personal brand of a journalist;
  • study the interests of the audience by the number of likes to each specific material,
  • promote journalistic texts and the media;
  • form a system of incentives for journalistic work, depending on the number of likes and reposts.

However, there is the problem of artificial increase in likes – promotion of this or that news, informational outfit. This is also one of the problematic aspects of journalistic ethics in public utilities.

Ethics in Public Networks

Communications within public utilities are initially presented as mixed. A person registering an account on a social network is declared as his “owner”. He is given the right to disclose his personal data, establish links with other users of the service, distribute information for individual users (groups of users), and for an unlimited number of persons. Services allow the simultaneous use of various types of communication, including mass one.

Thus, users of the social network get the opportunity to broadcast mass information without the help of the media, which acted as an “ethical filter” and allowed only information that met the requirements of professional ethics in the sphere of mass communication. In other words, there are no previous mechanisms of corporate self-regulation.

For a professional journalist who uses public utilities for personal purposes, the situation is complicated by the “bifurcation” of his communication role. He faces a double representation. First, the journalist, within the scope of his job duties, is a professional communicator who identifies himself with the editorial staff of the media. Secondly, he is a private person who has the right to distribute in public utilities any information within the framework of current legislation and service rules. At the same time, a journalist can designate his profession, position, place of work in public utilities, and talk about his professional activities. This is not prohibited by law and professional ethical codes.

In this case, for the remaining participants of the social network, he is already beginning to act not so much as an individual, but as a member of a specific media, a priori representing the editorial position. In this field, conflicts arise for a person in a “public” profession, implying increased ethical demands on the part of society (officials, judges, politicians, police, journalists, etc.). In these conflicts, corporate ethical demands and personal judgments may contradict each other.

However, there is a positive side as well. The rapid development of public networks in many ways facilitated the work of a journalist to find information about the heroes of the publication. Social networks do not replace traditional methods of journalism. But they can be a help in solving complex journalistic problems. In addition, it is necessary to comply with the norms of professional ethics in the use and dissemination of personal information of users. In social networks, biographical information is easily accessible, as well as photos that journalists use for publication in the newspaper without obtaining the consent of the hero. A journalist does not always check the validity of the data specified in the account and uses them as reliable facts.

What are the Possible Conflicts?

Conflicts of interest in social networks are a certain complexity. If professional journalism declares the desire for objectivity, covering conflicts from different sides, then users of social networks do not aspire to this. Moreover, in social networks, “guerrilla” methods have become increasingly used. The participants in the conflict themselves are included in the dissemination of biased information, disguised as ordinary uninterested users of the network. A separate ethical problem is a distribution through the social networks of images (photographs, video recordings).

Photo credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/alborotadores/5082214184/ 

Here there is a whole complex of issues, which is connected with copyright, interference with privacy, with the lack of permission of persons photographed or videotaped, with the publication of materials of shocking, offensive character and other undesirable information.

In Search of Decisions

The above-mentioned ethical issues are already discussed in the literature. There are already research projects devoted to the problem under discussion. Many editions of the world’s leading media included requirements for the behavior of employees in social networks in their corporate standards.

Conclusion

  1. New challenges in the field of journalistic ethics are connected:
  • with the peculiarity of a double representation of the subject of communication in social networks (public and the private person at the same time);
  • with a lack of social responsibility for disseminating information from users of social networks;
  • with the inability in some cases to verify the reliability of the information disseminated;
  • with the technical features of social networks.
  1. New ethical problems fall into two directions:
  • ethical regulation of information behavior of ordinary users;
  • professional ethics of journalists in social networks.
  1. The solution of the problem of the ethical activity of ordinary users lies in the sphere of self-regulation of a particular social network according to previously announced rules. In the event that information from social networks is used by professional journalists, they must take care of filtering, editing information and verifying its reliability.

4. The decision of a question of a parity of the private and public (corporate) element in personal blogs and pages of journalists practically dares at a level inside the editorial policy. In this regard, there has been a tendency to restrict freedom of expression to journalists who claim to belong to a particular media in a social network. These restrictions relate, as a rule, to statements of political preferences, the dissemination of confidential information, links to commercial structures and harsh expressions that can offend or degrade one’s reputation.